As Syria marks eight years of unrelenting crisis, some three million Syrians in Idlib face an especially bleak and uncertain future.
Hundreds of civilians are believed to have been killed in violence since the start of the year, with Islamic Relief’s mobile emergency teams alone treating some 30 civilians who suffered war-related injuries in recent weeks.
Despite a temporary truce coming into force in Greater Idlib in September, more than 200,000 people are thought to have been displaced there in the six months since. Camps in Idlib – currently home to more than 190,000 people – are already bursting at the seams, with conditions deteriorating as aid supplies dwindle and the international community shifts its attention elsewhere.
Naser Haghamed, CEO of Islamic Relief, said: “The crisis in Syria is far from over and for more than three million people in Idlib there is still no end to this living nightmare.
There are grave shortages of food and medicine and families continue to be displaced at a shocking rate. Some families have been displaced ten times or more during the eight years of crisis and some 40,000 are having to pick up and leave again just last month in the Idlib region.
“Every time a family has to move due to security risks, or because they do not have access to the most basic of services, they become poorer as well as more at risk of abuses like child marriage and forced recruitment to armed groups. Children often have to drop out of school, while the rest of their families struggle to get jobs and are torn apart from their support networks.
“After eight years, people in Idlib increasingly feel like the international community has forgotten about them. They have no idea what will happen to them next or when or if they will ever be able to go home or if they and their families will live to see an end to this barbaric crisis.”
Violence has reduced since September, but should a fresh assault begin, the decimated healthcare system will be unable to cope.
Medicine shortages are rife, and insufficient clean water and electricity makes even routine surgery potentially deadly, with chronic shortages of anaesthetics meaning people often only receive partial pain relief during operations. Many doctors and medical staff have fled the country, while those who remain are often not being paid, forcing them to charge patients for their treatment.
Treatable diseases like pneumonia are rampant and people cannot access proper care for illnesses like cancers and kidney issues. We are also seeing a steady stream of children injured and even killed by unexploded ordnance hidden in the rubble of destroyed homes and buildings.
Islamic Relief provides lifesaving humanitarian aid and assistance in Idlib, and are one of the last major international NGOs still operating on the ground. Last year alone, we reached nearly 2.5 million people in Syria. We also provide extensive support to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
Help us continue to provide the Syrian people with the lifeline they so badly need: Donate to our Syria Appeal today.